The Founding Fathers of the United States, especially the classically educated Thomas Jefferson, chose Neoclassicism as the country’s national architectural style as it is the amalgamation of all the ideals that the Founding Fathers had fought for in their journey to independence from their colonizers (“The Federal Style”). Classical architecture was first inspired by the Greeks and later adopted by the Romans for their own unique designs when they conquered Greece (“Roman Architecture”). The great ancient society of Rome was specifically the inspiration of the newly formed America. Rome to the United States was the epitome of a myriad of aspects such as its government, education, and the arts (“The Federal Style”).
The neoclassical style of architecture which started in the mid-18th century in America conveyed a forward thinking approach for the coming 19th century (“The Federal Style”). In general neoclassical style displays symbolisms of democracy and philosophy (“The Classical”). When it was adopted by the Americans it evoked an analogy of young America to imperial Rome aiming to emulate the latter’s greatness (“Neoclassical architecture,” 2006).
I definitely believe that architecture can convey a message to the viewer as powerfully as a painting can. Although it is often called “frozen music” or “mute poetry”, it does not mean they are totally void of meanings or implied ideas. They may not be explicit or literal in their message but architecture can still allude to nature. Notice how the Sydney Opera House in Australia echoes the sails surrounding it. Architecture is unique in that the form cannot be separated from function especially in modern architecture. The form itself communicates ideas or meanings even in their pristine state. For example, a horizontal line is associated with a line where earth and sky meets or a reclining figure connotes stability, restfulness, peace. Warm colors evoke the sun, fire, or summer, whereas cool colors suggest their opposites.
The Classical Temple Architecture and Symbols of Washington, DC. N.d. STOPTHE
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World Wide Web: http://www.holycross.edu/departments/classics/wziobro/ClassicalAmerica/federalistintrohp.html
Neoclassical architecture. (2006). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved December 4, 2006,
from Britannica Concise Encyclopedia: http://concise.britannica.com/ebc/article-9373222/Neoclassical-architecture
Roman architecture. Wikipedia: The Free Online Encyclopedia. Retrieved 04 December
2006 from the Web: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_architecture